Raiders of the Lost Stash: Opium Fleur de Shanghai

I’m an Opium girl from way back; the Yves Saint Laurent pillar was also my first (devastating) experience with reformulation, and since that offensive bottle of Eau de Toilette in 2001, I haven’t sniffed it since.

Until Fleur de Shanghai*.

Opening with what smells like pink carnations and powdery iris (I’ll check the notes and see what the official story is, it almost smells like I dabbed Opium on my wrist, then liberally sprayed Bellodgia over the top of it. Now, if that sounds gross, let me assure you— it is not. It’s a really nicely balanced composition, and I think it’s vastly superior to the last bottle of straight “Opium” that I owned (which was totally unwearable, smelled off, and made me sneeze like CRAZY). After a few minutes of light, fluffy & feminine powder, I smell vestiges of what I remember Opium to be, and it’s nice. It’s nice because it’s not claiming to be the original, and as a flanker, it does it’s job well. It’s an excellent floriental for people who like perfume (Capitol P).


  • Mandarin Orange, Magnolia, Star Jasmine, Carnation, Myrrh, Vanilla


My sample came to me from Tara, who came to it by Tommy, who arrived at it through Vanessa! Don’t you just love the spirit of sharing in the perfumed-blogosphere???

*Worth noting: Fleur de Shanghai was a special limited edition released in 2005, and has since been discontinued, however, it is available at the discounters, for about $60.

18 thoughts on “Raiders of the Lost Stash: Opium Fleur de Shanghai

  1. Oh good. I’ve often wondered about the Opium flankers. In my memory there seemed to be quite a few of them but if they were available at my local department store, I must have blinked and missed them. This one sounds nice. I like carnation, just not by itself.

    (PS: my sense of smell is creeping back. I get it for a little time each morning, half an hour on Saturday, an hour or more yesterday, longer today hopefully. In that small window of opportunity I have been frantically sniffing things from your latest package!)

    1. This was the first flanker I’ve sniffed— I guess I didn’t really think about flankers when it came to Opium! I was so disappointed by the reformulation, that I just gave up; turns out there was no need! This is a really nice fragrance, especially if you did like Opium at all…

      YAY! Thank goodness! I was terrified for a minute there that it would be longer lasting… the whole world must seem duller without our favorite sense 😦

      I’m especially looking forward to your getting through all those roses— the search for the ideal rose must continue!!

      1. Yep, I want to get back to the roses too. At the moment I still cannot smell for a whole day, and I’m not sure I am smelling things accurately (or at least, as I used to), but in a day or two, all should be back to normal. Hurrah!

  2. Okay, I saw the title and laughed my head off! So there’s a “ha-haaa” to Archimedes, Simpson-style. Thanks for backing me up, Dee. 😉 (Perfect picture, too.)

    I’m embarassed to admit that I don’t really remember how Opium smells, which is shocking considering I’m an 80’s teen. Giorgio, Poison and Obsession, yes, but there’s no scent memory for Opium. However, iris and carnation sounds really great, now I’m curious to try this.

    1. It was the perfect fit! And Opium has a Raiders of the Lost Ark vibe to it, I think. Though, I like all of your family’s suggestions so much, I think I might use a different moniker for each post… 🙂

      Well, I think that if you encountered Opium, you’d have an “Ah-ha!” moment of recognition, it’s so distinctive (and was so gorgeous— to me— but don’t ask Mals 😉 ).

      It’s worth trying! I think there is enough over-lap in our tastes that you’ll at least appreciate it.

  3. And I do believe Tommy came by it from me… : – ) I have about 40ml left of my bargain bottle, bought direct from a warehouse on an industrial estate a few miles up the road from my home. Such a find – I have loved this scent ever since I read the Smellyblog review. I introduced Mrs Bonkers Senior to it, who finds it a fresher alternative to Coco, and whom I am keeping topped up in 4ml roll on bottles (she is on her third!).

    1. I love it! I’ll update the provenance with your name as the original source: thank you for passing this along!!!

      A “fresher alternative” is an excellent way of putting it— those topnotes are very bright, without canceling out the oriental heart. It’s such a nicely done fragrance, how silly that it was a limited edition! Luckily the discounters have it covered…

      And what an awesome discovery! I wish that there was a perfume warehouse up the road from me!!! 🙂

      1. I am not sure it is still there, but as my reserves get below the half way mark, boy, am I minded to check… This holds a similar spot in my heart to Brulure de Rose – it is both very distinctive and affecting – two key criteria of a big fragrance love for me.

        : – )

        1. … Even being mentioned in the same sentence at Brulure de Rose is a pretty big deal in my book! This may be a Back-Up Bottle scenario! 😉

  4. I keep getting tempted by this (blame Vanessa) because I love carnation and magnolia – but I stop myself from nabbing it unsniffed because I HATE Opium. Hate hate hate hate.


    I think it would be safer for me to just leave it alone…

    1. Confession: I’m pretty sure I do NOT know what magnolia smells like! I vaguely recall the aroma of actual magnolias, but in perfume, I’m lost.

      I think you would probably like the first five or ten minutes of this fragrance, when the florals are most prominent (and stunning, really), but the “Opium” part that remains is the part I think you like least— the base-line! But I also think you should take up Vanessa’s offer and give it a whirl, I’d love to hear what you think of it!


    1. Isn’t that great? Dionne came up with it 😉

      Opium was beautiful… thankfully, there are many new things that have managed to fill the Opium-shaped hole in my heart!


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